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Anyone know of a good book on meaning?

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
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I've read a number of books on or related to, the meaning of things, of life, of purpose, many of the pop philosophy type, "Jonathon Livingstone Seagull", Leo Bugscalia books. I've also read things like Victor Frankel's "Man's Search for Meaning" and "far out there" stuff like Edgar Cayce and Carlos Castenada. I've read the Bible and related books of religious origin, but I want something with a reasoned, logical argument. I don't want to offend those with faith, but I've been immersed in different belief's all my life, and I want to read a point of view that I haven't been exposed to. I've started a number of the standard philosophy texts, but lost patience with the premise or pace. One thing this cancer crap does, is make you start wondering, why me, what matters, what purpose is served by any aspect of existence. I love science, and the amazing discoveries that add to the body of knowledge almost every day, but science can only provide the how, and debunk what isn't truth. Science won't resolve "why", likely nothing will, but, these days, it's an itch I want to scratch. So, let me know if a particular read had meaning for you. Thanks...............................................Dave

lizard44's picture
lizard44
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Joined: Apr 2015

any of Joseph Campbell's works?   There was a  Bill Moyers TV series  back in the late 1980s that featured him, and he's written several books, including The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces. One of my favorite quotes of his from  The Power of Myth is :“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.”~ Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth.

Grace/lizard44

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
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Grace, I'll see if I can get a copy of "The Power of Myth". As far as the rapture of being alive, when I was about 10 or 11, I would stand in front of the bathroom mirror and repeat things like "I am" and "this is me" trying to grasp my very existence. If I focused enough, the hair on my neck stood up, chills ran through my body, and the back of my head felt like it was going to pop off. That was my first attempt to feel the rapture of being alive, and the beginning of a search for different kinds of rushes, both adrenaline and chemically induced. Given the separation of function in our brains[higher functions vs the animal level stuff] we may well be looking for things on multiple levels, but the front of my brain definitly is stuck on "why?".........................................Dave

lizard44's picture
lizard44
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but maybe it's  the approropriate one. Maybe rapture is really feeling   that necklace  that laz mentioned, the one we're part of.  I can remember when I was on a couple of archaelogical digs in  college,  being the first person to touch an artifact we had just uncovered and realizing that the person who made it and the last person to have touched it  had lived thousands of years ago in a world very different from mine.  It   was a feeling  that for that instant there was an electric charge  making me one small dot on a long line of a time and space continuum that stretched out in infinity. That was perhaps a rapturous or thrilling feeling. But I get  thrilled so often - I get almost rapturous when I see  seeds I've planted break through the soil, or discover a   tiny wren pecking its way out of an egg in the nest its parents built in  one of my hanging baskets, or hearing a piece of music  or seeing a work of art that is so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes. I think maybe we all  experience those moments but  often don't give them the place they deserve in our thinking. I don't think too often anymore about the  whys, it's enough  most of the time for me to  just experience the  bliss of the moment. But by the same token,  I find it  very frustrating to  see all the   horrors  and the suffering in the world  around me- they are a little harder to accept without questioning, except most of the time I'm not at all sure what the  best question would be of if there really is an answer so I do what I can, where I can, with  what I have, realizing tht it's totally  inadequate, but hoping it helps just a tiny bit. Maybe that's too simplistic, but  after all these years it works for me and I guess we all have to find what works for us as individuals. Sorry to be so long-winded.

Grace/lizard44

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
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I know what you mean, I milk those little moments for all I can. Today's involved blue skies and a warm sun [85 degrees in Cali, feels good if your not working], blossoms popping on my fruit trees, and little lizards running everywhere on the walls, while I water everything. I don't need my why's answered to find joy and meaning in the moment[s], but sometimes my mind reaches for more, so I try to be open to other developed ideas as to the big questions, and there's a lot of different points of view out there. Thanks for sharing yours...................................Dave

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Joseph Campbell is great. I often call him "The Other J.C.". I have it all on audio. Feel free to check it out

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
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for the link, Phil.  I may check this out. 

lp1964's picture
lp1964
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...why me, there is no answer to that, because it is a wrong question. We may  may not have done things to get cancer. But it's just a game of chance. 

When you ask about the meaning of life, there are two sides to that: the meaning of your personal life and the meaning of LIFE on Earth.

The meaing of your own life is very personal to you so you have to find it yourself. No one can do it for you. You have look at your personality, family, history, friends, lifestyle, spirituality etc. 

The meaning of LIFE as long term biological process is simple. It is not the individual that matters but the long term.  The role of the individual is to pass on To the next generation the best genes possible and care for them until they become independent to do the same thing to their offsprings.

Today we are very selfish. We want to feel important as an individual and even enjoy life not just survive. Often we spoil our offsprings in the name of giving them a better chance. But many times they are less prepared to be independent or takes lot longer. We made our world so complicated that now it takes 20 years of schooling and parenting to become somewhat independent of ten with a huge student loan which takes a lifetime to pay back.

Good spirituality or good religion is about to make us realize that there is something bigger than us whether you believe in evolution or God. We are just one pearl on a long necklace.

Thank you for bringing up this subject. A life threatening disease or situation often puts us in a much realistic and healthier state of mind.

Laz

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
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Laz, thanks for a nicely framed response. I agree with the dichotomy, and my struggle is more with the big picture for life and humans. I can find purpose in my existence, through my kids and family, and anyone I'm able to help along the way. I'm content with that role. On the bigger purpose, certainly the first "duty" is to continue the species, to procreate, to help life flourish beyond our tiny lifetime, one little link in an almost endless chain. What purpose that chain of life and subsequent intellegence have in a seemingly indifferent universe is what vexes me. A big space rock has the ability to erase us [at least up to now], same as the dinosaurs, who had 65mill years or so to develop, and did nothing but live, breed, and mostly get bigger as a response to their environment. Is intellect just an adaptation to help us flourish, if so, to what purpose, or endgame? In philosophy there's a school of thought called absurdism, in which some hypothesize that the end is oblivion, and therefore life and all its fuss and feathers is absurd, much ado about nothing. I don't subscribe to that view, because I don't accept that oblivion is our fate, on either level. Sadly, I don't think we have enough information to form even a good guess as to where things are going, much like we don't have a clue as to what makes up 3/4s of the universe [dark matter, dark energy], but I would still like to hear what the best minds, focused on the question of existence, have to say.....................................................Dave

lp1964's picture
lp1964
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As you said our basic biological function is to survive long enough to pass on our genes. At the beginning of human (and other species too) evolution intelligence helped us to survive. The brain though started putting layer on the fundamentals. Food wasn't just fuel anymore. Now it has to look good, smell good, be warm or cold, we need to know what's in it and where it's from. Procreation is not mating anymore. We need the proper atmosphere, sexy outfit, candle and techniques to make the experience last and be memorable. Our great grand parents didnt even make the connection between mating and babies. "We were blessed by God!"

Then came the intellectual layer. You have to realize the intellect has only meaning to the mind that creates it and the minds that preceive it. Like a languagge. Chinese makes sense only to those when understand it. To others is meaningless.

Intelligense is meaningless to the biological world. It only feels important to our on minds. It's a luxury we can only afford when life is easy. Sadly all this accumulated wisdom becomes meaningless even disappears when society breaks down or the person dies.

It's hell of an entertainment though.

I live in Los Angeles. Where do you live in Cali?

Laz

 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
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Thank you, Laz. 

I do believe building our intellect is important, to a point. I've beat myself up about being 'stupid' all of my life, only to learn that I'm not stupid after all, I'm just not university material. There is a difference. 

My faith has been put under a microscope these past years. I understand where you are coming from, Dave. It is hard for me to rely totally on faith that 'everything will be OK'. I beleive it will, I just don't understand the WHY'S and WHEREFORES. 

There are many great books out there to help you understand, but in the end, it has to come from inside youself. 

Enjoy yourself as you learn as opposed to letting it get you down or depress you that you can't figure it all out. 

Sue - Trubrit

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
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I live in Beaumont, in the San Gorgonio Pass, half way between San Berdoo and Palm Springs on Interstate 10. It's a beautiful spot with mountains and scenery all around, and two hour's drive to the beach, the deserts, upper and lower, the mountain towns, and the big city, LA or Diego.............................Dave

BillO60
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Joined: Mar 2015

Hi Dave,

Back in the mid to late 1990's I worked for a Home Health/Hospice in Riverside that had offices in Banning/Beaumont, Palm Desert, and another out-of-the-way in the middle of the desert place between Banning and Palm Desert I can't remember the name of.   I worked IT back then and had to make the circuit to all of the offices on a regular basis.

I lived in Hemet at the time and I haven't thought about the mountains for years until you mentioned it.  We used to make trips up to Idylwild as a nice change from the desert heat and to see something green once in awhile.  While I wasn't that fond of the desert heat, the Hemet area was a good location to get to just about any type of terrain, shopping, entertainment, and food anyone could be interested in.

Now I live in LA about 4 miles from Venice Beach.  While I like having access to the beach (and the bike path that goes along the coast) and other stuff there are times I  miss the relative peace and quite and solitude you get in places like Beaumont.

Bill

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
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Beaumont's losing it's little town feel, Bill. We're way past 40k with subdivisions being built. I'm sad about what's being lost, but it's still home. Took the granddaughter to Venice Beach and SM pier awhile ago, just to show her something different, we had a great time. Desert Hot Springs, Cabazon and Whitewater are the little communities between Banning and Palm Springs/Palm Desert, if that helps. You're fortunate to not live in Hemet these days, I'm hearing and reading about bad stuff from there all the time. If I want peace, quiet, or solitude, I head for the mountains, Forest Falls or Idyllwild, but not on the weekend. Living on the edge of a Megalopolis means going places at times when the Angry Hordes aren't.....................................................Dave

DaveHereInFlorida
Posts: 48
Joined: Jun 2015

That is Gods promise to those who love and have committed thier life to Jesus Christ. A person can read and explore many different written works but unless  they are immersed in the truth and love of God toward us and the buying back of our Souls thru the sacrifice of Christ, they will not give you the silver bullet you are looking for. Our meaning to life is wrapped up in our Creator for, who or what is bigger and more important than that ?  What alot of people arent aware of , is, how the modern  sciences are confirming that the Bible is true and can be trusted in all matters concerning reality.  The best book ive read in a long time is "I Dont Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist" (www.amazon.com) by Dr. Norman Geisler and Turek which thoroughly covers our meaning to life, what we should be doing with it, with a strong slant toward the modern sciences also. The last part of the book deeply explains why the Christian Faith is true thereby eliminating all competing religions, philosophies,  ideology., and the plethera of psuedo-sciences that inundate our society. 

 

I have found my meaning to life, what my purpose is for the remaining years, and a cancellation of fear concerning death to this life because the Lord i serve accomplished a historically verified ressurection thereby conquering death. There is a real peace that can be had going thru this disease of cancer for either way i know that i  cannot loose and it only gets better ; and its based on a free personal relationship with the Universes Creator /Saviour available to all.  .  If you want to talk more feel free to email me at Ilbebauck@gmail.com    Dave

 

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
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Perfect Love and our true spiritual identity is the theme of the many articles my sweet mother brings me, as she is a devout Christian Scientist. I read them, mostly to honor her love and concern, but that faith veers in a much different direction than evangelical Christianity. I'm happy that you've found peace and purpose, Dave, and that your beliefs take away the fear and uncertainty, but after a lifetime of soul searching and questioning what we think we know, I need to follow this path, even if it leaves me anxious and uncertain about the meaning of things, and hungry to know things that may never be answered to any real satisfaction..............................Dave

LivinginNH's picture
LivinginNH
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Hi Dave,Maybe this book would interest you - it's by a world renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking.  The link at the bottom is where you can order it from Amazon if you'd like.

"The first major work in nearly a decade by one of the world's great thinkers—a marvelously concise book with new answers to the ultimate questions of life:
 
When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Why are the laws of nature so finely tuned as to allow for the existence of beings like ourselves? And, finally, is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation"

http://www.amazon.com/Grand-Design-Stephen-Hawking/dp/0553805371/

lp1964's picture
lp1964
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...the universe have to have a beginning. Why can't it just exist forever like God. Those who believe know that God wasn't born, he doesn't have a beginning and an end. Why can't the universe be like that. Maybe the universe just vibrates between existance and non-existance so fast that we only experience the existence phase. Light and sound waves have dark and silent phase between them. But we only experience the light and sound part unless we build sensitive instruments.

Bringing this discussion back to our common issue: cancer. Cancer cells are the ultimate survivors. The multiply, they spread and they cannot stop or die. They can cheat the immune system and not be detected. They are "intelligent" to stop multiplying when they sense chemo that only works on cells that multiply. Actually they are too perfect, they kill the host that feeds them. Kind of like us, humans on this planet?

Laz

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
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In the multiverse, everything may be cyclical, and move between dimensions [another thing I can't begin to wrap my mind around]. Cancer does behave much like an independent organism, like a virus that adapts and overcomes what we throw at it. If it was a little smarter, it would slow it's roll at the point where our system starts to fail, like a parasite or fungus, to keep us, and by extension, it alive, but noooooo, it has to get all greedy and spread all over........................................Dave

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
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I read "A Brief History of Time" and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I'm open to anything by Dr. Hawking. I think he is the one who first convinced me that "why" may not be ever answered, other than to say "Because it is so". I'll get Grand Design and then maybe I'll read Brief History again, I have a hard time with physic's concepts. Thanks...............................................Dave

Easyflip's picture
Easyflip
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a more elegant answer to the question "Why?" than "Because." It's... "Why not?" 

Easyflip/Richard

DaveHereInFlorida
Posts: 48
Joined: Jun 2015

Many millions of people are evangelical Christians and are having a peace thru adversities in life.  Jesus and his calvary/resurection accomplishments put him well above competing religions and ideology including any alleged science claim such as the multiverse speculation ,  our universe is a chance happening, and a fish became a Fisherman.  THE MEANING TO LIFE AND WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING WITH IT IS WRAPPED UP IN A PERSON AND NOT THE CREATED. Its the Creator who deserves our trust , honor, and worship .... nothing else will satisfy deeply because we each have this void in our souls meant for him to fill.  Once filled, a miraculous rebirth in the persons Soul takes place as the Creator actually comes to dwell in us.  Philosophy, making idols of created things, trying hard to live morally , diving into various pleasure experiences , etc... just cant fill that void because they lack power and are only temporarily fulfilling .  This life is all about Gods totally free gift of his Son paying the ultimate price on behalf of our sin account so we can enjoy GOD both now knowing we are at one with him and thru a wonderful relationship feeling his love, mercy, and care for us.  Its free to all and im just a Guy who took advantage of Gods Plan to be saved so i know that death isnt the last say-so for me  ---  it is simply a doorway to eternal life being in direct prsence with the Creator.  Its meant to be simple instead of thru some complex temporary acquistion of some thing .

 

As you seek deep meaning to life, please remember the truth of Jesus from a historical reality standpoint as well as from science confirmation thru archeological finds, etc.. Its all within easy reach upon a simple google search. You may want to read a very small book highlighting the proofs making Christianity true thru the book 'More Than A Carpenter' by Josh McDonnell (www.amazon.com).  .  Because your eternity is at stake , i greatly encourage you to deeply investigate the Christian Faith and dont base it on what you witnessed in your moms walk or anyone else. It has to be made very personal.  Thanks for the exchange and your seriousness in the matter.  Dave 

CSN_Rowan's picture
CSN_Rowan
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Hi DaveHereInFlorida,

Please keep in mind that the CSN terms and conditions ask all members to respect the spiritual beliefs of others and to refrain from proselytizing on the boards. This does not at all mean that you can't talk about your faith and its place in your life, but we do ask that discussions do not invalidate the beliefs (or disbelief) that other members may hold. Religious belief is always a complicated subject, and I appreciate your offer to continue the discussion privately with interested parties.

Best regards,

Rowan

CSN Support Team

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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Many years ago (in a galaxy far, far away) WWIII broke out after a former member made a comment that pretty much offended everyone but them. After that, a separate forum was created so people could go nuts on their beliefs. Here's the link

Spirituality, Prayer, and Meditation Forum

John23's picture
John23
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Wow....

Jesus attempted to teach all people that there was only one (1) God. That God represented everyone. There were no "different Gods", but only one.

Since all governing powers governed by Religious beliefs, funds were collected for the religion involved. That "taxation" was collected by the country area that that controlled by it's religious doctrine.

Jesus set out to teach that there was no need to "pay" for God; that there was only one God, and He did not require "payment".

The powers of those that governed were then in attack, and they responded by getting rid of the one individual that was compromising their control. That individual was named "Jesus Christ", and they crucified Him for His work to convince everyone that no governing power had the right to demand funds to support the "religious needs" of their constituents.

It's so sad that so many now promote "Christianity" and actually pray to Jesus, when Jesus attempted to teach everyone that we are all of one God, and no one should pray to any "idol". He did not want people praying to Him, He was but a mere mortal attempting to teach others that only one God represented all, and there should be no differences in ideology.

So much for all that, ehh?

History is interesting, if one subscribes to the notion that only historical facts should be studied.

Be well, our time is short.

John

 

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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John23's picture
John23
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I always loved that guy, Phil!

Not only for his quotes, but also for his great soups! (mm-mmm-good)

 

Sharronoffaith's picture
Sharronoffaith
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Hi Dave,

Thanks for a very fascinating subject.  I believe your question is at the heart of every human being, possibly every living creature.  Growing up, I had a very smart German Shepherd/Lab mix.  I looked into her eyes a lot as a kid, and just felt like she had the answers.  She had the "connection" to our creator, which I believe to be "God", our Lord, "The most high God," or whomever you like to call the beginning of creation.

That said, I love all the responses here.  And, I think the biggest book of meaning is the Bible.  Really, it reads like history, and is history.  But, you are searching outside of that, and I think it is great that you listed the Bible in your search.

That said,  I think there are many answers.  More answers than the cures for cancer. More answers than stars.  And, not unlike the wizard of oz, your answers are within you.  So, maybe some books on Tai Chi, or meditation, or really getting connected to that inner you.  I also actually see meaning for life in the face of a newborn baby.  Yeah, babies are cute, but there is something about a human being before they are indoctrinated into the busy busy world of busy.  So, the answers are in you. 

But, I am thrilled to hear what others have to say here.  I do like the classics, and Steinberg, and C.S. Lewis, and some of the crazier dark stuff like Kafka and Poe.  I believe that all well written books, and all art forms are the act of people reaching in and getting in touch with themselves. 

And, let us not forget the "Hokey Pokey,"  ....that's what it's all about...

thanks again for a fantastic post!

Sharron

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
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Love the responses, lifes mysteries can take us away from the mundane bs and even the scary stuff, because we all want to "know", it's built in to us.

coloCan
Posts: 1956
Joined: Oct 2009

(or something to that effect) John Lennon......

DaveHereInFlorida
Posts: 48
Joined: Jun 2015

I dont believe i was 'proslytizing'......

It is up to everyone to make a decision about Jesus and i simply offered up what the Christian Faith is grounded on (his death sacrifice and bodily ressurection)  and some sources to investigate should a person desire to go further do acquire the truth of the historical Jesus.  I went on to highlight his famous teaching of being the way to heaven, the truth about our existence and future,  and his claim to be the life to which mankind finds ultimate fullfillment and peace with the soul  --- this was knowledge-sharing and not a chokehold to put people in so they accept Jesus  ;  that has to be a freewill choice without any coersion.     Also, I feel sharing of ones Faith is completely admissable regardless of the venue and protected by our Constitution .  Thank you. 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
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I think the post from the mods was a genreal reminder to everyone and not just you. 

One post can soon become several and before you know it, we're in some kind of debate, thus a reminder for all of us to accept one persons view and not get into a debate about it. 

Sue - Trubrit

 

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
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They would have sent you a private message if you were in hot water Dave. People often get passionate with their beliefs which is understandable. It's just that it can, at times, turn into something like "what's the best way to treat cancer?". There is no best way, it's whatever works for you...

John23's picture
John23
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Joined: Jan 2007

 

All forums are open to various ideologies, so please don't take anything too personally "out here".

(I'd use that old adage: "opinions are like anuses; we all have one", but it really doesn't make sense on this specific board.) (ha)

Be well!

John

 

Sharronoffaith's picture
Sharronoffaith
Posts: 76
Joined: Nov 2015

oh nooooo (said like in Mr. Bill)

 

when they take my poor boo boo (buthole) will I still have an opinion.  

 

 

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
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Joined: Aug 2013

I'm just excited that we can have this conversation, I can't have it any where else in my life. People don't want to think about this stuff. I want to know what everyone believes, what you think, we've all been through so much, we're all searching for for something we can hold on to. Just to know others yearn for answers somehow gives me comfort, that I'm not alone with my desire to make sense of this crazy life. 

takingcontrol58
Posts: 257
Joined: Jan 2016

Whle I was getting chemo, I watched a movie called "The Winters Tale."  It was on cable TV a couple
times during my treatment.  It really inspired me after being told I had 6 mos to live.  It was always on TV
when I needed a lift.

If you have to rent it, make sure you get the one with Colin Farrell, Will Smith, Russell Crowe and William Hurt.
It is very uplifting. It is actually about saving a red headed girl with cancer and why and how that particular
girl was saved.  It makes me cry every time I see it.  It attempts to answer how and why we might be cancer survivors.

Great movie.

Takingcontrol58

beaumontdave's picture
beaumontdave
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Joined: Aug 2013

"The Winter's Tale", I'll check it out, especially with that cast, Thanks...............................................Dave

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